Overcoming the beginner hurdle in anything can often be overwhelming. Especially for those who’ve got a lot to compete against — which is especially true in the freelance industry.
However, what you need to remember is that even the most experienced freelancers often started exactly like you — with no prior experiences.
With that said, one of the best things about freelance writing is that, if you have some basic writing skills and some general knowledge of the ‘did + present tense’ rule, you’re often good to go.
However, if you’re still feeling like you need to step-it-up, here’s our guide on exactly what to do.
No writing experience? No worries…
1. Start a blog
The first thing every freelancer would be asked for is, if they already have an online presence, showcasing their work.
As when applying for gigs, clients may request this to examine your expertise, writing skills and styles from time to time, before even starting any work.
Hence, why it would be better if you already have a blog or website in place, in order to start populating it with articles — even if you aren’t being paid for them.
By doing so, you’re essentially building upon your resume/portfolio, providing clients with an instant impression of the validity of your work.
On an aside, this would also provide you with an added bonus of having some online publishing and blogging experience. As this would help you understand the different stages of online writing, such as;
- Setting up a blog and understanding its basic functions.
- Implementing basic SEO strategies, such as meta tags and headings.
- Understanding how to format and add images into blog posts correctly.
- Publishing across different social platforms, etc.
2. Pick a niche and then go learn and write for it
As a writer, it’s better to get good at one thing, rather than dipping your toes everywhere. Or else, you’ll never have the time to learn everything you need to know, for when it comes to writing for those topics.
Choosing your niche can depend on what you’re passionate about or something you’re already an expert on.
Meaning, if you love to write about food, you should choose food related gigs. However, if you’re a technical SEO expert, you should be writing for gigs related to web and SEO, etc.
By doing so, you’ll essentially be developing both your niche and portfolio together, as there’s no point sending a portfolio of your food-related blog to someone who’s looking for technical-related articles and vice-versa.
Tip: Whatever niche you pick, just be sure you follow the best writers, blogs and websites in that space, in order to get a fair idea of how the industry works.
3. Join social media groups and communities
Freelance writing is majorly based on the networking you do through social media groups and communities.
It’s very similar to the way you hunt for a job through Linkedin. However, for freelancing, you just have to keep an eye on almost all the social media platforms.
Popular groups on Facebook
A quick search in Google can allow you to see some of the most followed and populated groups for finding writing gigs on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Therefore, you should join these and keep an eye on the gigs that members mention.
A few of these popular groups include:
4. Follow writing accounts for daily motivation
Freelance writing may sound fun at the start, however, it often requires a lot of motivation to keep you going.
You may sometimes give into procrastination and sometimes find yourself binge-watching Netflix, whilst having a writing document open in the other window. Only to find your quality of work suffering or deadlines being missed altogether.
How can social media help?
What certainly helps is following social media accounts that would keep reminding and inspiring you to finish what you started!
This will also help you meet like-minded people and even reach out to potential clients to work with.
Certain Twitter accounts that may help motivate writers are:
5. Share your articles on social media
You can make the most of social media by putting your name out there.
Sharing your previous work, writing samples or projects would make it easier for prospective clients to find you better.
6. Register with freelance websites
These websites do not necessarily require any prior writing experiences and often allow you to register and submit proposals for free too.
Meaning, you should go sign up for them ASAP and be sure to make your tallent easily discoverable too.
You can do this by adding your active social media profiles, website or blog URL, in order to showcase your previous work samples and projects — allowing them to be easily found by potential clients coming through these websites.
7. Start cold pitching
Whilst others get a monthly paycheck, your income depends on the amount of work you bring home.
Therefore, cold pitching should be on your fingertips, even before you become an expert at writing!
Finding work is the biggest challenge for freelancers and that’s where you put all your dignity aside and start cold pitching.
You can do this by researching people you would want to work with or are known to hire freelancers such as yourself and start marketing your work and talent to them through emails and LinkedIn.
To make sure you cold pitch to the right person, rather than dropping a message to the ‘Contact Us’ page of their website. You’re better off going through the ‘Our Team’ page and finding the respective Linkedin profile you need to contact, in order to know who’s your go-to person.
Tools such as Hunter can be extremely useful when it comes to finding the right email addresses in situations like these.
With the Hunter tool, you can simply add their website URL and get a list of known email addresses associated with that domain.
Afterall, as I’ve already mentioned, freelance writing doesn’t necessarily require any previous experiences other than knowing some basic writing skills and rules.
However, by reading this article, I hope that you’ve got a better understanding of knowing the things you should do, in order to excel your freelance writing career to land more gigs.